Are We Us? — Adjectives

The adjectival suffixes -ārius, -tōrius, and -sōrius denote belonging to a group qualified by the implied content of the correspond root. Effectively, these adjectives are formed by the addition to -ius to the adjectival root -āris or the nominal root -or. Let’s build a few examples.

  • bellum (war) —> bellātor (warrior) —> bellātōrius, -a, -um (of warriors)
  • pecūlium (property) —> pecūliāris, -e (one’s own) —> pecūliārius, -a,- um (of private property)
  • meritō (to earn) —> meritus (earned) —> [meritor] (earner) —> meritōrius, -a, -um (profitable, esp. related to prostitution)
  • extrā (outside) —> [extrāris, e] (foreign) —> extrārius, -a, -um (of foreigners)

A few things to notice about this pattern: (i) the original base of the adjective can be just about anything—noun, adjective, verb, adverb—but the penultimate word is always a noun or an adjective. That said, (ii) the penultimate noun or adjective is not always extant in Latin; note the [brackets]. Finally, note that (iii) this set of adjectives is often theoretical—rēs bellatōriae (matters of warriors)and rēs extrāriae (matters of foreigners) probably cover half the total appearances of those two adjectives.

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Comparison of Participles (as Adjectives)

In my last post I covered the basics of comparing regular adjectives. Participles decline as regular adjectives when they are compared, whether they be present active (patiēns, patient) or perfect passive (apertus, open).

  • amans (stem ament-) / amantior, -ius / amantissimus, -a, -um (loving)
  • rabiens (stem rabient-) / rabientior, -ius / rabientissimus, -a, -um (raving)
  • nescitus, -a, -um (stem nescito-) / nescitior, -ius / nescitissimus, -a, -um (ignorant)
  • olfactus, -a, -um (stem olfacto-) / olfactior, -ius / olfactissimus, -a, -um (sniffed)

A related phenomenon occurs with compound adjectives ending in -dicus, -volus, and -ficus (from dīcō, volō, and faciō). These compounds in fact take the stem of their related present active participle (dīcens, volens, faciens) in place of other endings.

  • maledicus, -a, -um / maledīcentior, -ius / maledīcentissimus, -a, -um (slanderous)
  • benevolus, -a, -um / benevolentior, -ius / benevolentissimus, -a, -um (well-wishing)
  • māgnificus, -a, -um / māgnificentior, -ius / māgnificentissimus, -a, -um (grand)

The Essential AG: 124a, 127

I-Stems with Ablative -e

Consider section 121a4, which lists a variety of consonant stem adjectives that do not take -i in the ablative singular. They are completely regular, and the entry is really there only to keep you from having second guesses.

I’ll list them here so they get some web mileage, despite not being especially interesting, however rare:

  • caelescaelitis relating to the heavens or their Gods
  • compos, compotis possessing control of
  • dēses, dēsidis lazy
  • dīves, dīvitis wealthy
  • hospes, hospitis amicable, relating to guest-friendship
  • particeps, participis participating in
  • praepes, praepitis nimble, winged
  • pauper, pauperis poor, destitute
  • prīnceps, prīncipis princely, noble
  • sōspes, sospitis safe and sound
  • superstes, superstitis surviving

As someone pointed out in a comment, the general but non-binding idea is that those adjectives which most often operate as nouns (like these) take the ablative in -e, whereas those that are properly adjectival take the ablative in -i. You find hints of this throughout the consonantal and i-stem entries in Allen and Greenough (see 121a1-2), but they make no effort to propagate it as a formal rule.

The Essential AG: 121a1-2, a4

I-Stems: Summary [8/8]

Like A&G, I would like to conclude my series on i-stems with a short assessment of the basic rules and variations associated with the i-stem class.

A&G paint a picture of cultural amnesia regarding Roman relations with the i-stem. As I have shown in previous posts, in all but the genitive plural (ium), and the neuter accusative/nominative plural (ia), the unique i-stem endings are rare or optional. (cf. the status of English ‘who/m’).

  • The nominative singular could be -is (sitis, is) but also ēs/-s/x, etc.
  • The accusative singular could be -im but also -em.
  • The ablative singular could be or it could be -e.
  • The accusative masc/fem plural might be -īs but it’s usually -ēs.

AG: 76

I-Stems: Ablative -ī [6/8]

We see that -im and tend to be common in the same words. That is, where -im is of frequency, so too is .

  • For more on where the -im ending shows up, see this post.
  • Beyond the contents of that post, the -ī ablative ending also appears:

Always

1. with secūrī
2. with the adjectives (nominative -is) where these are used as nouns:

  • aequālī (a contemporary)
  • annālī (annals)
  • aquālī (washbasin)
  • cōnsulārī (former consul, member of the consular rank)
  • gentīlī (relative)
  • molārī (millstone)
  • prīmpīlārī (chief centurion)
  • tribūlī (fellow tribesman)

(As adjectives proper, they would be aequāle, annāle, etc. in the ablative.)

3. in the ablative of i-stem neuters (animālī, baccārī, etc.)

Sometimes

1. With the following nouns: avis, clāvis, febris, fīnis, īgnis, imber, lūx, nāvis, ovis, pelvis, puppis, sēmentis, strigilis, turris (definitions)

2. With the following adjectives (nominative -is or -ens) where they are used as substantives:

  • affīnī (son-in-law)
  • bipennī (battle-ax)
  • canālī (pipe)
  • familiārī (immediate family member)
  • nātālī (birthday, anniversary)
  • rīvālī (rival, competitor)
  • sapientī (wise man)
  • tridentī  (trident)
  • trirēmī (trireme)
  • vōcālī (vowel, vocalist (pl.))

(As adjectives, they would be affīne, bipenne, etc.)

Apparent Exceptions—

  1. The ablative of famēs (hunger) is always famē (not famī nor fame)
  2. The case defective māne (morning) is sometimes mānī (the word is found only in the ablative).
  3. Canis (dog) and iuvenis (youth) always take the ablative -e, never . (contrast with avisclāvis, etc.)

I-Stems: Mixed I-Stems [5/8]

In my opinion, A&G make too big a fuss over mixed i-stems, which are essentially a broad class of nouns that usually feature a genitive plural in -ium and might feature an accusative plural in -īs, but are otherwise regular third declension nouns.

Here are five of their six morphological classes, along with all the examples they offer. (I’m excluding 71.4 because it’s ridiculous that they’ve placed it there at all):

1. Nouns in (n.) -ēs, (g.) -is.

  • acīnacēs, -is (m.) scimitar
  • aedēs, -is (f.) temple
  • aciēs, -is (f.) point, battle line
  • caedēs, -is (f.) slaughter
  • cautēs, -is (f.) crag
  • clādēs, -is (f.) destruction
  • compāgēs, -is (f.) structure
  • contāgēs, -is (f.) sense of touch
  • famēs, -is (f.) hunger
  • fēlēs, -is (f.) cat
  • fidēs, -is (f.) faith, trust, loyalty, reputation, etc.
  • indolēs, indolis (f.) inborn quality
  • lābēs, labis (f.) fall, destruction
  • luēs, luis (f.) liquid water
  • mēlēs, mēlis (m/f.) marten, badger
  • mōlēs, mōlis (f.) mass, bulk
  • nūbēs, nūbis (m/f.) cloud
  • palumbēs, palumbis (m/f.) dove
  • prōlēs, prōlis (f.) shoot, offspring, descendants
  • prōpāgēs, prōpāgis (f.) shoot, offspring, descendants
  • pūbēs, pūbis (f.) young man
  • sēdēs, sēdis (f.) seat, office
  • saepēs, saepis (f.) hedge, fence
  • sordēs, sordis (f.) filth
  • strāges, strāgis (f.) overthrow, destruction
  • struēs, struis (f.) pile
  • subolēs, subolis (f.) shoot, offspring, descendants
  • tābēs, tabis (f.) decline, decay
  • torquēs, torquis (f.) necklace
  • tudēs, tudis (m.) hammer
  • vātēs, vātis (m/f.) prophet
  • vehēs, vehis (f.) cart-load (quantity)
  • veprēs, vepris  (m.) bramble-bush
  • verrēs, verris (m.) boar
  • vulpēs, vulpis (f.) fox

2. All monosyllable nominatives in -s or -x preceded by a consonant.

  • ars, artis (f.) skill, art, technique
  • pōns, pontis (m.) bridge
  • arx, arcis (f.) fortress

3. On the following monosyllable nominatives in -s or –x preceded by a vowel.

  • dōs, dōtis (f.) dowry
  • fraus, fraudis (f.) deceit, fraud
  • glīs, glīris (m.) dormouse
  • līs, lītis (f.) case, quarrel
  • mās, māris (m.) male
  • mūs, mūris (m/f.) mouse
  • nix, nivis (f.) snow
  • nox, noctis (f.) night
  • strix, strigis (f.) channel, furrow
  • vīs, vis (f.) force

4. Polysyllable nominatives in -ns or -rs.

  • cliēns, -entis (m.) client, follower
  • cohors, -ortis (m.) companion

This does not apply to all present active participles!

5. Patrials (nouns denoting birth, class, abode) in -ās and -īs.

  • Arpīnās (Arpīnātēs)… Aprīnātium
  • Optimās (Optimātēs)… Optimātium
  • Penās (Penātēs)… Penātium
  • Quirīs (Quiṝitēs)… Quiritium

The (very much non-)Essential AG: 71-2

I-Stems: Neuter Exceptions [4/8]

So, unfortunately, I stated earlier that the neuter i-stem class is entirely regular. In fact, a footnote in A&G reveals about ten exceptions.

These nouns are almost regular, except that with consonantal stems –al and –ar they also add the ending -e to the nominative and accusative singular. Note that because of this ending, the -ā- is long in all cases.

Where the singular is uncommon or does not exist, I have used the plural.

  • alveāre, alveāris, beehive
  • augurāle, augurālis, augur’s staff
  • capillāre, capillāris, pomade
  • cochlearē, cochleāris, spoon
  • collāre, collāris, collar
  • dentālia, dentālium, sharebeam of a plow (What?)
  • fōcāle, fōcālis, cravat (What?)
  • nāvāle, nāvālis, dock
  • penetrāle, penetrālis, inner shrine
  • rāmālia, rāmālium, twigs
  • scūtāle, scūtālis, thong of a sling
  • tibiālia, tibiālia, shin-length stockings

The Essential AG: 68n2